Beer On My Shirt: Let's Go To The Outer Banks

J. R. Shirt, June 19, 2014

The Wife, the Child, and myself are headed to Outer Banks, North Carolina, this weekend. We are packing the car full of way more stuff than we could ever need for a four day trip and driving the ten or so hours for what we hope to be some lovely family time on the beach.

Right now, there are any number of things I should be doing to prepare for the trip, and I have, in fact, written many of those things down on the pages of a legal pad. There is a list for the fundamentals – things like underwear, socks, bathing suit, and all my t-shirts. There is a list for things I need to take that I will most likely forget – my phone charger, my different creams for my different bumps and itches, my road almonds, and my laptop.

The most stressful of all the lists is the list of things that need to be done prior to departing – things like mow the lawn, vacuum the house, clean the refrigerator, trim back my nipple hair (“opening up the nipple domes”), pluck my identical/symmetrical shoulder hairs (one on each shoulder, like handlebars on a strange motorcycle, or a poor excuse for wings on a frail moth-man), find my flips-flops, trim my toenails, and take the Dog to Mom's.

To help ease stress of the above to-do list, I've also created a list of potential craft beer opportunities to explore during my time on the Outer Banks. A quick look at our Beer Leaderboards for the Upper South region of the country reveals that 7 of the top 10 beers are by North Carolina brewers. However, the top beer, NoDa Brewing Company's Hop, Drop n' Roll (an American IPA with a 7.54 BAR and 110 Style+), is not showing up on any online beer lists I've perused today. A quick glance at our heatmaps and NoDa's website and I am not any more hopeful.

The Outer Banks Brewing Station is another option – not nearly as highly touted on the Leaderboards – but they do have a Lemon Grass Wheat Ale (a World Beer Cup Silver Medal winner) that sounds interesting enough to get me through the door, and after that, well, anything is possible.

It also appears that there is a wine/beer/cheese bar, Trio, that has a pretty nice looking tap list as of this writing, featuring Foothills Brewing's Jade IPA (the 4th beer on the region's Leaderboard) and Stone's Enjoy By as well as many others. The Brine and Bottle looks like another quaint little spot that might have a few favorable options, although no list was available on their website to give me a real idea. Unfortunately, these last two places don't appear all that kid friendly so my ability to spend time there depends solely on the the kind hearts and availability of Wife's Aunt and Uncle, with whom we are staying, to watch our shining sunbeam of a child.

One last spot, Howard's Pub, appears both promising and terrifying at the same time. Promising because it appears to be family friendly enough and has about 10 taps dedicated to North Carolina beers. Terrifying because it would require me to travel via sea vessel to Ocracoke Island. Now understand, I am not scared of boats or water. I am scared of motion sickness. I am scared of sober public vomiting. I am also scared that if the trip there is rough I will not be able to enjoy myself one bit.

I realize it is just a ferry. Everyone says, “Oh, it's just a ferry. You'll be fine.” That person clearly did not travel to the Statue of Liberty with me back in 1995. I have absolutely no sea legs, no sea arms, not even a single sea finger to wag at the ocean like a merman Dikembe Mutombo. What I have is a mutinous stomach with an aggressive chum schedule the second there is even the slightest motion on the ocean. Or bay. Or sound. Or wide river. Or whatever. Water sucks. Drink beer.

I have good days and bad days on the water, which makes it all the more troubling – any boat ride is really just the flip of a coin with a bucket of vomit at stake. But regardless of my personal maritime problems, I am open to any suggestions for my time down on the Outer Banks. Specifically, I'm looking for craft beer suggestions from those familiar with the area, but any information would be appreciated. I have been there once before, but it was years ago and I think I focused mainly on rum. I remember wild horses on the beach. Is there any craft beer near those wild horses? Because that would be incredible.

J. R. Shirt once took motion sickness medicine during a deep sea fishing excursion. He fell asleep on the boat and did not wake up for 18 hours. His step-father had to carry him to the car. And then into the house. And then into a cold shower to make sure he was alive. J. R. Shirt never took motion sickness medicine again. Follow him on Twitter and Untappd @beeronmyshirt.